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Russian train crash south of Moscow leaves several dead

A freight train has collided with a passenger train in Moscow, causing several deaths, according to Russian officials. The accident was said to have occurred to the south of Moscow.

Russian officials said Tuesday at least six people had died in the collision, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Moscow. They added another 45 people had been injured.

Rescue coordinator Vadim Andronov was quoted by the ITAR-TASS news agency as saying that the death toll was likely to rise.

One of the carriages of the passenger train was crushed by the freight train wagons. Rescuers are working to pull out injured people being crushed by the wagon," he said. The emergency headquarters dealing with the victims said 15 of the survivors were in a grave condition.

The Emergencies Ministry said the accident occurred at 1 p.m. local time as the passenger train was traveling from the Russian capital to Chisinau, the capital of neighboring Moldova.

"Keep calm, do not panic," read a statement from the ministry. The cause of the accident was not initially known although investigators said a criminal probe had been launched.

A statement from Russian Railways said 16 wagons of the freight train had derailed and that at least two carriages had been significantly damaged.

rc/tj (AP, dpa)